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September - Pastor's Message

posted Sep 5, 2014, 12:56 PM by Karen Lindsey   [ updated Sep 5, 2014, 12:57 PM ]

"Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it." (Proverbs 22:6)

 Over the weekend I started sorting through pictures from the last 30 years -- hundreds, maybe a thousand or more.  My goal is to get rid of about 1/3 of them and put the rest back into albums according to subject and decade.  I'm trying to decide which ones our kids might like to have in the future.  For instance, pictures of our family in front of Old Faithful or Mt. Rushmore will stay, while blurry pictures of trees or grizzly bears will go.  

 It's tedious but also a fun job that sparks lots of good memories of our family life.  The kids grew up so fast and now as I look back I pray we have given them what they need to be spiritually strong, healthy adults.

But I also have collected a stack of pictures taken at Port Madison Lutheran Church over the last almost 20 years!  What has been fun is to see how many children have grown up in our time here.  Quite a few have moved away and we have lost touch with them and their families.  It makes me wonder how they are doing.  Are they still followers of Jesus and growing in their faith?  If they marry and have children will they take them to worship and Sunday school so they can learn about God's love, too?

 As a congregation we have always taken seriously our task of teaching children about God's salvation for the world through the teaching of His Word.  Sunday school has been around since the late 1700's and the classroom has been the format used by most churches to instruct children.  But lately I have become aware of articles disparaging Sunday school.  At least one author says that it is "killing the church".   

 Under criticism is both the format and time commitment.  For example, according to one pastor, "Parents can’t afford three hours [to attend church and Sunday school].  [Our congregation] absorbs Sunday school into worship and wraps up in one hour.  They put on puppet shows, re-enact radio-theater, create artwork, and write haikus and lyrics as ways to learn Bible stories. Eighty-year-olds share highs and lows with teens. Parents do skits with their children. And 11-year-olds train 5-year-olds on how to distribute communion.  

"It’s a relational experience, unlike traditional worship, which can be passive and unengaging,” the pastor said.

There's always room for improvement in how we communicate spiritual truths.  And I do love the relational aspect and fellowship that builds between the kids as well as between the kids and adults.  But I have a feeling the most important factor in Sunday school is the content of what we teach.  If we adults do our homework preparing, if we are careful to stick close to the Bible and its message, and share the message with love for the kids, the Holy Spirit will do the rest of the work in our children's hearts.

 And so we have no plans to abandon Sunday school at PMLC.  In fact, Sunday school begins this Sunday at 9:15 a.m.  If you would like to be involved regularly or occasionally -- teaching a Bible lesson, leading songs, games or a craft, please speak to one of the Deacons (Naomi Baker, Sue Kerrigan, Deb Baxter) or Michelle Crawford who will try to keep a schedule of who is teaching or doing what from week to week, or me.  And even if you can't help, we would appreciate your PRAYERS for our children and teachers!  If you have a neighbor or know a child who isn't attending Sunday school and worship this would be a good time to invite them and even pick them up so they can hear about God's love!

On another subject:  I have been asked to give an update on my treatment.  In July I saw the oncology department at Mayo Clinic for scans.  Because 3 of the tumors on my liver have grown and a new tumor developed under my arm they are recommending chemo pills.  Next week I will meet with a local oncologist to get started.  They tell me it should be well-tolerated, though some people experience nausea, fatigue and thinning of hair.  Please pray that this treatment will be effective.  Thanks!

In Christ,
Pastor Lori